Defeat of moratorium motion victory for working people

In what seems like a lifetime ago I was forced to leave the Valley based on economics.

Defeat of moratorium motion victory for working people

Last night hundreds of working men and women won a huge victory.

For years in the Valley working people have either been too busy or too discouraged to make the effort to get involved in local politics. That all changed radically [Monday] night at North Cowichan.

In what seems like a lifetime ago I was forced to leave the Valley based on economics.

In 1982 there were no jobs with the forestry downturn and I was lucky to get a job railroading for CN rail in Edmonton. The reason I mention this is twofold.

First, it makes me very sympathetic to the young folks that got up and spoke last night about the very real possibility of not being able to stay in the Valley and losing their jobs based on the misguided motion before council that would have negatively affected an industry that has created many jobs and a tax base for the Valley: real estate/developing and all the trickle down benefits associated.

Secondly, because I wanted to use the term “asleep at the switch”, which is derived from a switch man sending the rail car into the wrong track.

That is the best way to describe what came very close to happening last night.

Thank you Mayor Siebring and Coun. Tek Manhas for helping navigate the world between common sense and special agendas.

I think it is intimidating for all of us to try and understand the workings of local policies and municipal rules but that motion would have bypassed the official community plan. The name says it clearly, official community plan, hopefully meaning just that.

It took years of public input and thought to put into place and really creates a fair rule book for people to follow. There will be a new and improved one shortly and it will take years of public input.

But the current on is in place. The general public can and should go down and get a copy to see the direction the community wants to go. I advise my kids and their young friends that the one thing I have learned is everyone has access to and should know about the plan and if they are smart maybe they should buy in the high growth areas as that is where future development will be.

It’s, in my opinion, the great equalizer, no hidden agenda, everyone can base their decisions on the plan in any community they choose to move to.

In a cynical world it is important that people trust that the rules are fair and benefit everyone. In my opinion, the OCP does just that.

I sat behind some very big and intimidating men at the meeting and when some councillors mentioned it took courage for Christopher Justice to make the motion and stick with it, I can’t agree more.

But not for the same reasons. The reason most people, myself included, don’t get more involved is because I can’t stand that some local councillors love to hear themselves talk. Please take a page out of Tek Manhas’s book and respect that time is important and should not be wasted. Those people that worked all day have better things to do.

Yes it did take courage, but please, next time appreciate that much public outcry is based on outrage and concern.

Thank you for awaking the sleeping bear.

Doug Irving

North Cowichan

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